Aaah! The feeling of holding a copy of your published work is hard—if not impossible—to put into words. “Finally,” you say.
Okay, so you are now a published author. Whether you took the traditional way or the Indie way, it’s almost irrelevant.
Little does any new author know that holding your published work is just the first step in a series of other steps to get your book in the reader’s hands, especially if you write fiction. And one of those steps is marketing. That’s right. It doesn’t matter which way you took to publish your book; you still have to do marketing, more or less.
But if you are an Indie author, the prize you have to pay for your independence is that marketing falls 100% on your shoulders. And let me tell you, it’s a heavy load to carry.
You ask yourself that million-dollar-question: “How do I improve my book sales?”
Everyone has an opinion about that and at least five ways to ensure success —Genre matters; genre doesn’t matter. Advertise on Facebook; don’t advertise on Facebook. Advertise on Tweeter; don’t advertise on Tweeter. Blog, don’t blog, and the list goes on and on. I swear, sometimes when I listen to these opinions I feel like listening to food experts: Drink milk; don’t drink milk because it’ll kill ya.
The truth is, no one tells you the truth. Not the entire truth unless you pay for it. Unfortunately enough, our society runs on “nothing is free” ideology.
You want to know what I know, you have to pay C.O.D., and sometimes what I know ends up to be an entirely useless material to you, but by the time you find out, you’ve already paid for it.
There is no magic wand, no nose twitching. The secret to success is hard work.
I’m an Indie author myself by choice. I say by choice because I have only sent my work to three traditional publishers. And out of those three, two had accepted it. But after a certain amount of deliberation, I concluded that their contract was not worth my freedom. I’m more of a leader than a follower, and though I work well with others and have excellent people’s skills, if I submit to something it has to be something worth my while.
Anyway, my take on marketing is this: you can write in any genre, and even multiple genres, but you’ll need to create a following. You’ll need to attract readers who gravitate to your genre.
“How do I do that?” you ask.
The answer is simple. Put yourself out there. You are in the business of selling. So first, sell yourself.
Okay, stop your muddy thoughts right there. I didn’t mean it that way. But I’m sure you know what I mean. No one follows an author who has nothing to say. The more you project yourself in a way that holds the readers’ attention, the more you gain their faith in you.
Highlight the fact that you are now a published author on all your forums. Join groups of writers and start interacting with others. They are a good source of information. No one tells you everything, but everyone tells you something. Build yourself a website and add it to your social media profiles.
If you’re already using social media, which you should, that’s great! It means you will know how to promote your books.
I once heard someone complain about an author who promoted her books too often and it invaded that person’s feed. Okay, you do not want to be an author that shoves your work down people’s throats constantly, but, on the other hand, you can’t worry about everyone’s feelings. Just know that you can’t make everyone happy no matter how hard you try.
If you want to sell books, you need to promote every single day. If that bothers someone, they have the option to take you off their feed. I have two Facebook pages—one on which I goof around when I should be writing, and one author page on which I promote my work. But the rule of thumb is, promote only once or twice a day on Facebook and don’t post your book to all your groups at once. I can see how that may annoy some people. The same goes for Pinterest and Google, which are the latest huge markets for authors.
Tweeter is a tad different because you can tweet any number of times a day without bothering anyone. All you have to do is change one word in your tweet. Ex: “New release…” The next time you tweet, you write, “Just released…”
Goodreads has a bad reputation among many aspiring authors because of all the bullying going on. Bad undeserving reviews are handed out as easily as gifts at a birthday party. They demean and dehumanize authors, true, but don’t let that scare you. The site is valuable to authors because it’s visited by a lot of readers. I personally do not use it a lot because I find it complicated and time consuming, but whenever I have some spare time (which is once every few days) I go there and try to find my way around.
Blogging, doing interviews and tours is a nice and easy way to put yourself out there. It broadens your biography. People thrive on hearing about you, about your lifestyle. About your likes and dislikes. About your thoughts and wisdom. It makes you human.
There are many other social media platforms. Research each one and see which ones suit you.
Share other people’s work on your walls. That will encourage them to share yours. Remember that social media to your books is like gasoline to fire. The more you pour and the larger the area you pour it on, the bigger the fire.
True, it takes a lot of dedication on your part to use these social media platforms and many authors—myself included—complain that there are not enough hours in a day.
It goes without saying that the effort will cut into your time viewing funny cat videos and poking your friends on Facebook, but if you truly want your books to succeed, you will find the strength to sacrifice those habits even if not entirely.
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I got you, right? You just wasted two minutes and nine seconds from your marketing time. Yeah, yeah, I know; the cats are cute.
All these may be small things, but they’re the stepping stones to a positive image. They may not make you a best seller in the blink of an eye, but doing something is better than doing nothing.
Am I an expert at this?
Absolutely. It took countless hours and sleepless nights and back-breaking work to learn what I know. I had no one to teach me and because of that, I did everything backwards, but fortunately for me, I’m a quick study.
Do I know everything?
Absolutely not. I’m learning something new. Every. Single. Day.
Am I a New York best seller?
Not yet, but I’m working on it.
Have a good week everyone, and join me on Friday, May 8th, for an interview with Gisell De Jesus, author of Conflict Of Interest.